Microsoft Offers Windows 7 Upgrade for $30 to Students for Limited Time

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Date: Friday, September 18th, 2009, 07:11
Category: News, Software

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As much as you may want to burn Microsoft’s headquarters to the ground, they do remain competitive on some levels. According to AppleInsider, Microsoft will allow students to purchase the upcoming Windows 7 operating system for US$29.99, roughly the same price as Apple’s competing Mac OS X Snow Leopard.

Per the article, Microsoft this week launched win741.com, a Web site devoted to promoting Windows 7 to students.

“For a limited time, eligible college students can get the sweetest deal on Windows 7 – for only $29.99 USD,” the site reads. “That’s less than most of your textbooks! Hurry — offer ends January 3, 2010 and 12 a.m. CST.”

The offer applies to the Home Premium and Professional versions of Windows 7. Students will be allowed to purchase one copy of either from Microsoft’s online store. Similar offers are available in the U.K, Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Korea and Mexico.

Rather than mailing a disc, the software will be made available for students to download in either 32- or 64-bit versions. The Web site’s FAQ recommends that those looking to do a clean install of the operating system buy a Windows 7 backup DVD.

For all non-students, Windows 7 is less expensive than Vista, but still much higher than Snow Leopard. A retail copy of the Home Premium upgrade will retail for US$120 and the standalone version is US$200. The Professional edition will cost US$200 for an upgrade, or US$300 for the full price. The Windows 7 Ultimate version is US$220 for the upgrade and US$320 for the full copy. Upgrades require Windows XP or Windows Vista to be installed on the machine.

The Windows 7 launch date is set for October 22nd.

Look at it this way: It’s not Vista, it’s gotten good feedback and it’ll happily run under Boot Camp, so there may be a bargain to be had here.

Skype 2.8.0.722 Released

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Date: Thursday, September 17th, 2009, 12:31
Category: Software

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On Monday, Skype released version 2.8.0.722 of its popular Voice over Internet Protocol communications program.
The new version, a 43.9 megabyte download, adds the following fixes and features:

- Platform specific: OS X 10.6 Snow Leopard – Call Phones and Send SMS window “Type number” text field is too dark.
- Chat window does not refresh properly when chatting with a user whose avatar file is corrupted.
- When creating a new contact request, the option to request to see the contact’s status but not let them see yours is disabled.
- In a contact request, the option to add a new contact to your Contact list is disabled when the user chooses not to let the contact see when they are online.
- In a contact request, new contacts are added to a user’s Contact list even when they uncheck the option to add them.
- When screen sharing in fullscreen mode, the user can’t click on Skype menu items at the top of the screen.
- Platform specific: OS X 10.6 Snow Leopard – Layout issues in the video window when a video call is put on hold.
- The Hold button appears over the Call on Hold message.
- Skype sometimes crashes when plugging in or removing a webcam.
- Skype sometimes crashes soon after launching when an auto-config (PAC) file was used to connect to the internet.
- Skype sometimes crashes when shutting down.
- Platform specific: OS X 10.6 Snow Leopard.
- Main window does not display properly when signing in as another user from the Account menu.

Skype 2.8.0.722 is available for free and requires Mac OS X 10.3.9 or later to install and run.

iPhone 3GS Radiation Measurements Released

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Date: Thursday, September 17th, 2009, 05:10
Category: iPhone, News

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You spend a fair amount of time with it next to your head, so you might as well have the facts.

Per a report released by the Environmental Working Group, Apple’s iPhone 3GS handset ranks almost squarely in the middle of smartphones in terms of radiation output. The report notes that according to compiled data, the 3GS produces approximately 1.19W/kg of radiation. The figure is substantially lower than the worst-case examples, the T-Mobile myTouch 3G and the Kyocera Jax S1300, which each produce 1.55W/kg.

The 3GS still produces considerably more output than phones towards the bottom of the scale, such as the Samsung Impression and BlackBerry Storm, which are rated at 0.35 and 0.57W/kg respectively. It also emits more than the 0.97W/kg of the original iPhone, but less than the iPhone 3G, rated at 1.39W/kg. The three best-performing phones on the list, such as the Nokia 9300i, are no longer being sold.

In a new report, the EWG claims that people using cellphones for 10 years or more could develop “serious health problems.” Because of radiation, the report suggests, cellphone users have an “increased risk of developing brain and salivary gland tumors, neurological symptoms such as migraine and vertigo, and neurodevelopmental effects observed as behavioral problems in young children.”

The EWG is pushing for the US government to require displaying radiation levels at points of sale.

QuarkXPress 8.1.2 Update Released

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Date: Thursday, September 17th, 2009, 04:10
Category: Software

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Late Wednesday, software developer Quark released version 8.1.2 of its QuarkXPress design application. The 659 megabyte update, which can be downloaded here, adds the following fixes and changes:

- Improves PDF output capabilities and introduces features.

- Introduces a ‘Native Transparency’ mode for creating PDFs which can offer designers faster and more flexible PDF output support and provide greater control over their PDF workflow process.

- Renovates spell checking, adds the ability to paste text without formatting, and improves productivity with Scale functionality.

- Fine-tunes Usability and Item Styles.

- Can help prevent errors by reporting faux font styles such as bold or italic.

- Readies QuarkXPress for Snow Leopard and Windows 7 compatibility.

QuarkXPress 8.1 requires Mac OS X 10.4 later to install and run and retails for US$799.00 for the full version.

Wall Street Journal Web Site to Go to Subscriber Model for iPhone, Blackberry Users

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Date: Wednesday, September 16th, 2009, 03:13
Category: iPhone, News

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If you loved free Wall Street Journal content on your iPhone, you can thank Rupert Murdoch for this one.

Per Paid Content, News Corporation has announced that readers of the WSJ on the Blackberry and iPhone will be charged US$2 per week for the privilege of reading news through the respective apps. Online and print subscribers of the WSJ will only pay US$1 a week. No time limit has been set yet, but Murdoch says it will be within the next few months.

This could be bad news for Hulu users as well, as Murdoch has stated that News Corp is considering either a pay-per-view or subscription model for Hulu. “No final decision has been made,” Murdoch said via Webcast at an investor conference today. The Wall Street Journal itself reports that subscription offerings will roll out for media content before the end of the year, though it was made in a different context from the Hulu statement.

(On a personal note, if this helps what’s been a great paper make its bottom line, then sure. Otherwise, who wouldn’t love to see Rupert Murdoch chased down the gray Manhattan streets with frothing wolves at his heels?)

Cocktail 4.5.1 (Snow Leopard Edition) Released

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Date: Wednesday, September 16th, 2009, 03:07
Category: Software

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On Tuesday, shareware developer Maintain released version 4.4.1 of Cocktail (Leopard Edition), Cocktail, the popular shareware utility program that allows for additional Mac OS X system tests.

The new version, a 2.0 megabyte download, adds the following fixes and changes:
- Addresses an issue in which Cocktail may not launch on 32-bit only Macs.
- Addresses an issue in which Cocktail was unable to search for corrupted preference files.
- Added Mac OS X 10.6.1 compatibility.
- Other minor improvements and bug fixes discovered in the previous version.

Cocktail 4.5.1 retails for a US$14.95 shareware registration fee and requires Mac OS X 10.5 or later to run.

Adobe Releases Camera Raw 5.5 Update

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Date: Tuesday, September 15th, 2009, 04:01
Category: Software

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Early Tuesday, software giant released version 5.5 of its Camera Raw plugin, a program which delivers access to “raw” image formats in professional and mid-range digital cameras from Canon, Fujifilm, Minolta, Nikon and Olympus.

Newly supported camera models include:
- Nikon D300s.
- Nikon D3000.
- Olympus E-P1.
- Panasonic DMC-FZ35.
- Panasonic DMC-GF1.
- Camera Raw 5.5 includes a correction to the demosaic algorithms for Bayer sensor cameras with unequal green response.

Users can visit Adobe’s Camera Raw web site for a complete list of supported cameras.

Camera Raw 5.5 requires Mac OS X 10.4 or later to install and run.

Adobe Releases Lightroom 2.5 Update

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Date: Tuesday, September 15th, 2009, 03:50
Category: Software

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On Thursday, Adobe released Adobe Photoshop Lightroom 2.5, the newest version of its professional-grade image editing program and Adobe’s first application to support 64-bit processing under Mac OS X 10.5.
The new version, a 67 megabyte download (courtesy of VersionTracker), adds the following fixes and changes:
- Additional camera support for several new camera models including the Nikon D3000 and Olympus E-P1.
- Includes several corrections for issues introduced by previous Lightroom 2 releases.

Adobe Photoshop Lightroom 2.5 retails for US$299 and requires Mac OS X 10.4 or later to install and run.
If you’ve tried the new version, let us know what you think of it over in the comments or forums.

AT&T Staggering iPhone MMS Feature Release, Some Users Report Early Activation

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Date: Monday, September 14th, 2009, 04:20
Category: iPhone, News

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A number of iPhone users have reported that the long awaited MMS feature seems to have been enabled on their devices well in advance of AT&T’s declared September 25th start date according to howardforums.com.

The MMS support feature will allow iPhone OS 3.0 users to send pictures, video and audio recordings, contacts, or locations from Maps via 3G-capable iPhones.

In announcing its plans to enable the feature for iPhone users, AT&T explained, “It was important to give our customers a positive experience from day one. We support more iPhone customers than any other carrier in the world so we took the time necessary to make sure our network is ready to handle what we expect will be a record volume of MMS traffic. We truly appreciate our customers’ patience and hope they’ll understand our desire to get it right from the start.”

Rather than turning on MMS service for millions of American iPhone users all at once, AT&T has been selectively activating users across the country. Once activated, iPhone 3G and 3GS users should see a new “Cellular Data Network” menu item within the General/Network page of the Settings app and a new camera icon within the Messages app for sending photos.

It’s possible to install a modified carrier bundle for AT&T to activate MMS software features, but this does not necessarily result in functioning MMS. Without AT&T removing your opt out, MMS messages will queue up with a red exclamation icon as they fail to actually send.

Many users are reporting that there is no correlation between working MMS and either their installed software version, their carrier bundle version, their service or texting plan, or their geographic location. AT&T appears to turning on MMS for users at random to achieve a staggered release up to the September 25th deadline.

Apple Releases Security Update 2009-005 for Mac OS X 10.4, 10.5 Operating Systems

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Date: Friday, September 11th, 2009, 04:56
Category: Software

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On Thursday, Apple released Security Update 2009-005, its consolidated security update containing the four previous security fixes for the Mac OS X 10.4 (“Tiger”) and Mac OS X 10.5 (“Leopard”) operating systems.

Full details as to fixes and changes within the update can be found here.

The updates are also available as regular downloads for the following operating systems:
- Tiger PPC
- Tiger Intel
- Leopard
- Tiger Server PPC
- Tiger Server Universal
- Leopard Server

As usual, the update can also be downloaded and installed via Mac OS X’s Software update feature.